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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The impacts of building characteristics, social psychological and cultural factors on indoor environment quality productivity belief


Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) plays a key role in determining occupants' productivity at work; however, analyses of the interconnected factors among building physical, attitudinal, social and demographic components in one study are lacking. To fill this research gap, this study investigates these interconnected factors' influence on occupants’ IEQ-productivity belief, defined as a personal, subjective evaluation of the linkage between the impacts of five IEQ aspects (the quality of indoor temperature, air, natural and electric lighting, and acoustics) and productivity. A cross-sectional survey data was collected in university offices from six countries (Brazil, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Taiwan and the U.S.). Results of multiple linear regression models indicate that IEQ satisfaction is the strongest positive predictor of the IEQ-productivity belief and this relationship is stronger in private offices. Country of residence is the second primary predictor. Several attitudinal-behavioral factors, including thermal comfort, perceived ease of controlling indoor environmental features, and attitudes toward sharing controls are all positively associated with IEQ-productivity belief. Interestingly, the level of control accessibility to light switches has the strongest impact as opposed to other controls. On the other hand, group norms and conformity intention are not significant predictors. Regarding demographics, men are more likely than women to perceive the IEQs to have positive impacts on their productivity, without considering other variables in the regression model; however, women are more likely than men to consider all IEQs as having positive impacts on productivity, after considering other variables. Our findings provide suggestions for prioritizing wellness in the workplace since the early design stage.

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